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I admire John Kucko and his daughter Natalie, who work together as co-anchors on the 4 p.m. newscast for Channel 10. It is wonderful that they have the ability to share their lives professionally as well as personally.
They started working together in June 2022, after Natalie came over from Channel 13. They are among the rare father-daughter (or any parent-child) anchor teams in the history of television news. To my knowledge, it’s happened a few times and they seem to be the only current pairing.
“I’ve really enjoyed reporting in my hometown and I wanted to advance that,” Natalie said. “I felt like it was such a unique opportunity. My dad kind of is a workaholic, but who knows how long he’s going to be in the business. I approached the opportunity with open arms, and so far it’s been going well.”
He said he was asked about having his daughter as anchor. “I’m like, ‘Well, that certainly is intriguing.’”
When you know the family tree, Natalie’s career is no surprise. She is the third generation journalist — her maternal grandfather, Chuck Stevens, reported sports and news at Channel 10.
When Natalie was little, she would go to the studio with John, watch him work and warn her dad that she’d count his flubs.
“I’m happy to say I didn’t give her much to work with,” John said.
Had Natalie followed another path, it might have taken her into the field of mental health. “I’ve always been passionate about mental health initiatives … and so
if it required more schooling, I probably would have gone to school maybe to be a counselor or something of that nature. I try to look for those stories in the community and I’ve been able to tell many of them.”
We know about John’s career in broadcasting. He came to Rochester in 1989. He covered every Bills game for 26 straight years and was at 19 Super Bowls and other national events as the reporter for Nexstar stations across the country.
He started his career in Binghamton, where he had what turned out to the last interview with former New York Yankees manager Billy Martin. That interview is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, where John said he gets free lifetime admission.
And then …
“The workaholic thing was something I was dealing with,” John said. “I didn’t know how to shut it off … So I got a camera and my wife urged me to find a hobby.”
John took his Canon camera to Bills games and tried to capture creative photos. He also was doing nature photography and he loved shooting videos.
He was covering a Bills game in Houston in 2014 when quarterback E.J. Manuel threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. That kind of play is almost as rare as having a father-daughter anchor team.
“I’ll never forget it, but I called my wife and I said I’m checked out, I don’t want to be doing this anymore and I want to pursue camera,” John said. “She couldn’t believe it. She said come on, come home after the game tomorrow and we’ll discuss and a year later I was doing something else.”
You can see that “something else” on his Facebook page, where he has 492,000 followers.
You can see Natalie on Channel 10 at 4 p.m. and in her reporting.
And you can listen to our entire conversation by clicking here.